Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

26 December 2017. Points to Ponder… Bishop Lazar On This and On That



Continue to pray for Bishop Lazar. He’s recovering from his stroke and doing as well as one can expect. I agree with the following excerpts. I concur with Vladyki Lazar… there’s nothing worse than an earnest and unsmiling “moral” prig… I do daresay that I’m not alone in thinking that way.


Proof-texting is simply silly. You can contradict any set of proof-texts that sectarians come up with by using another set of proof-texts. There’s nothing that you can argue from proof-texts that you can’t disprove using another set of proof-texts. No single verse or a random collection of verses, removed from the narratives of which they’re a part, has any meaning at all, no matter how pretty or lofty it may sound.

Let me respond to some critics who reply that one must vote for Republicans because they’re (so they claim in order to get votes) “anti-abortion”. That position makes one ill. What moral value is there to be anti-abortion whilst promoting a healthcare system that leaves millions of children unable to receive healthcare so that many of them will die? What moral value is there to a blind focus on that single issue, totally disregarding their denial of climate change, with a mindless disregard for the already-born, and for future generations of children who will dies horrible, painful deaths, while Evangelicals and others hold a gross superstitious denial of man-induced climate change and a religious reverence for corporate profits margins? Why is it that when one talks to these people about the plight of the already-born, one’s words only irritate them or fall on deaf ears altogether? Pro-life has become a fetish rather than a sincere belief because those who are single-issue voters demonstrate a callous indifference to the plight and future of the already-born children of our world. Not looking at the broader picture and voting for already-born children, and future generations of children isn’t moral, it’s utterly shameful and despicable.

It’s difficult to assess which group is most responsible for modern atheism… rightwing “Christians” or televangelists. Rightwing Orthodox clergy contribute as much as any sectarian (or, one might say any “other” sectarian) religious group to driving young people away from Christ. Likely, however, televangelists contribute more to the growth of modern atheism. Certainly, rightwing “Christians” contribute their share, however.

The notion that the world will end when Christ returns is certainly not an Orthodox Christian idea. In fact, the world won’t end at all. The love and glory of Christ Jesus will embrace and transfigure our world and universe. God won’t destroy the works of His “hands”, which he called “very good”, but will glorify it in transfiguration. Perhaps this is why the Symbol of Faith (Creed) and a number of mistranslated verses in Scripture speak of “THE AGE TO COME”, not “the world to come”. Perhaps, the Holy Synod might consider putting the original words at the end of the Symbol of Faith in our service books so the Creed could have a more authentic rendition.

Bishop Lazar Puhalo


Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Archpriest Alvian and Matushka Helen Smirensky Died on Sunday… Вечная память!



Archpriest Alvian and Matushka Helen Smirensky died on Sunday morning in adjoining beds at Albany Medical Center within hours of each other. They had been married for 59 years. Alvian and Helen met and married in New York NY while Helen attended Barnard College and Alvian attended St Vladimir Seminary.

Alvian Nikolayevich Smirensky was born on 11 May 1929 in Harbin, China to Sofiya and Nikolai Smirensky. He attended elementary school in Japanese-occupied Manchuria. With conflict increasing between Japan and China, Alvian emigrated with his mother Sofiya in September 1939, settling in San Francisco CA. He graduated from St Ignatius High School in San Francisco in 1948 and later from the Merchant Marine Academy. He served as a naval officer in the Korean Conflict in 1951-54 on the destroyer USS John A. Bole. He retired from military service with the rank of Lieutenant Commander. After service in Korea, he moved to New York NY to attended St Vladimir Seminary in 1954-57; he later completed a second master’s degree at SVS. He was ordained a priest in the Russian Orthodox Church on 13 September 1958. Fr Alvian served in the US Naval Reserve as a chaplain and as a parish priest in a number of locations, including Ss Peter & Paul Orthodox Church in Meriden CT; Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church in Wayne NJ; St Basil Orthodox Church in Maplewood NY; St Nicholas Orthodox Church in Cohoes NY; and St George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Albany NY. When Fr Alvian retired from parish service, the Church attached him to Holy Wisdom Temple, New Skete Monastery. Fr Alvian also served in NYS government, retiring in 1991 as Director of Information Services for the New York State and Local Retirement Systems.

Helen Mikhailovna Smirensky was born on 3 November 1933 in Prague, Czechoslovakia to Michael and Elizabeth Kefeli. Helen and her extended family lived in Prague through the German occupation and World War II. They left Prague prior to the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia and lived in a series of DP camps in Germany until November 1949, when, sponsored by the Tolstoy Foundation, she came to the USA with her family and settled in Nyack NY. Helen received an undergraduate degree from Barnard College in 1957 majoring in Russian Regional Studies. Later in life, after many years of working in libraries, Helen completed her Master of Library Science degree in 1985 at SUNY Albany’s School of Library Science. She was a member of the Beta Phi Mu International Library and Information Studies Honor Society. She was a cataloguer at SUNY Albany and retired as a senior librarian from the New York State Library in 1996. She served as the New York State Library’s representative to the CONSER Operations Committee for a number of years.

The family would like to extend their deepest appreciation to the staff of the Emergency Department and the ICU at Albany Medical Center for their kindness and compassion in arranging for Helen and Alvian to be together during their last few hours.

The Funeral will begin at 1000 on Wednesday 13 December, followed by Divine Liturgy at 1100 at New Skete Monastery, 273 New Skete Lane, Cambridge NY. Burial will be at New Skete Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be in their memory to the National Health Law Program (www.healthlaw.org) or to New Skete Monasteries (www.newskete.org).

To offer condolences to the family, please visit www.gariepyfuneralhomes.com

Pannikhida was offered at Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville NY today at 1230.

Please add Archpriest Alvian and Matushka Helen to your prayer rule… if you’re clergy, don’t forget to mention them during the liturgy during the canonical period.


Monday, 13 November 2017

13 November 2017. Mitred Archpriest Michael Margitich Died… Вечная ему память


Sermon of St John Chrysostom for Easter. Santa Rosa CA USA 2012


Fr Michael was one of the first Orthodox military chaplains in the US forces, serving in the US Air Force from 1954 to 1984, retiring at the rank of colonel. He was in the OCA. I always remind my readers (especially, the younger ones and newbies) that we pray for everyone at their passing, not only those whom we find pleasing. Fr Michael was one of the “good guys”…

Remember to pray always for the departed… we’re Christians; that’s what we do.

Вечная ему память


Sunday, 22 October 2017

22 October 2017. Pray for Bishop Lazar… He’s Had a Stroke


Bishop Lazar Puhalo has had a stroke and is recovering in hospital. Pray for his recovery and a swift return to his monastery. Whether you like him or not, one of the rules of the house is that we pray for the sick and hope for their recovery. After all… we’re Christians! That’s what we do…


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